Electric Bicycles

Electric bicycles, more commonly referred to as E-bikes, are growing in popularity because they allow people of many agebike graphices and abilities to get out and enjoy the fun and enjoyment of cycling with assistance from an electric motor.  Just like a traditional bicycle, there are many different styles of e-bikes, from cargo e-bikes to beach cruisers to mountain bikes, making them useful and fun in many ways.  E-bikes also provide a great alternative to getting into a car to travel around town.

If you ride, or are considering riding an e-bike in and around Laguna Niguel, please take the time to learn what is and isn't allowed, what the applicable laws are, and follow guidelines and recommendations for the riding safety of yourself and others.

What is an Electric Bicycle? 

An E-bike is an electric bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts.

  • The same rules of the road that apply to traditional human-powered bicycles apply to all types of electric bikes and human-powered bicycles.
  • Electric bicycles do not require registration, licensing or insurance like a car or motorcycle.

E-bike 101

California designates three classes of electric bicycles. Knowing the class of your E-bike will tell you where and how you can ride. 

Class 1Class 2Class 3
Bikes with a top assisted speed of 20 mph that must be pedaled to operate.Bikes with a top assisted speed of 20 mph that can be operated without pedaling by using a handlebar-mounted throttle.Bikes with a top assisted speed of 28 mph that must be pedaled to operate.
Rider Requirements
  • No minimum age
  • Helmet required for riders age 17 and under
Rider Requirements
  • No minimum age
  • Helmet required for riders age 17 and under
Rider Requirements
  • Minimum age 16
  • Helmet required for all ages
Where to Ride
  • Allowed wherever regular bicycle are permitted
Where to Ride?
  • Allowed wherever regular bicycle are permitted
Where to Ride?
  • Allowed in bike lanes or separated bikeways adjacent to the roadway
  • NOT allowed on trails

It is against the law in California to modify or otherwise tamper with electric bicycles in a way that changes the speed capability, unless the rider also changes the bicycle’s classification. Electric bicycles with motors of more than 750 watts, and bicycles with gas motors are technically motorcycles according to the law and require Class M licenses, registration, insurance, and meet the minimum age requirement.

Voluntary Bike Registrationcruiser ebike

Laguna Niguel Police Services will be operating a voluntary bicycle registration program free for all Laguna Niguel residents. This exciting new program will allow residents to bring their bicycles, both electric and non-electric, to Police Services headquarters to register them. Bicycle registration services will also go mobile and be available at community events. By registering a traditional bicycle or E-bike, you increase your chances of recovering your bicycle if it is ever lost or stolen.  Residents can either register their bicycle in the Police Services Lobby or by completing this form.  

Protect your Bicycle

Bicycles are lucrative targets for thieves. Take every precaution to ensure that your bike is safe.

  • When done using your bike, put it away - inside if possible and out of site.
  • When out and about on your bike, always lock it securely and keep an eye on it.
  • Use a good lock! Make sure your lock has a high-security rating and learn to use it wisely.
  • Where to lock it? Look for something totally immovable that can't be cut.
  • How to lock it? Lock at the lowest point possible between bike frame and the locking object or cycle stand. This makes access and leverage points harder for thieves. Lock the frame and one wheel to the stand.
  • If you have parts or components that are easily removed, take them with you.

Electric Bicycle Feedback

Have you noticed unsafe e-bike riding behavior? If so, please let us know by completing the attached comment form. By providing information, you are helping your community become educated on the issue. Information provided in this form will allow the City to utilize resources to inform residents strategically.

Rules of the Road

All cyclists (e-bike riders included) are subject to all the same rules of the road as motorists. Cyclists who don’t follow the rules are subject to ticketing and fines as defined by the California Vehicle Code or Municipal Code. 

Make sure to follow these guidelines:

  • Traffic lights, signs, and signals apply to all road users, including electric bicycle riders
  • Cyclists must ride to the right edge of the road as practical. If you're riding slower than traffic, ride in the bike lane. You can leave the bike lane to turn left, pass someone, avoid a road hazard or avoid cars turning right
  • Must stop at red lights and stop signs
  • Cyclists can ride no faster than 5 mph on City sidewalks
  • Cyclists must yield the right-of-way to any and all pedestrians on City sidewalks
  • Always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on City trails
  • Must stop before a right turn at red lights
  • Riding against the flow of traffic is prohibited
  • When a bicycle lane is available, bicyclists are required to use the bike lane unless they are traveling as fast as traffic
  • It is illegal to carry passengers on your electric bicycle unless your bike has an extra permanent seat or when using a child safety seat
  • Weaving in and out of traffic is prohibited 
  • Be aware of other road users, and try to match the average speed
  • Always wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet with the chin strap securely fastened